Not a flashy guy, Willie Vaughn came from humble beginnings. He was raised in a low-income area but the casual sightings of lowriders caught his eye. For him, lowriders represented a sense of pride and with each sighting he couldn’t help but get intrigued by the automotive culture. With each car he found a sense of individuality and a form of expression that he could identify with and he vowed that one day he would own one.
At 17 years of age, Willie purchased his entry ticket into the world of lowriding. That ticket came by way of a ’70s Malibu. While not the prettiest of vehicles, he made due with what he had and over the next decade Willie went through a number of custom lowriders, including a 1963 Impala. With each build they only got better and better, but that all came to a halt when he sold his last build, a Chevy Caprice. The hiatus from building vehicles came when his focus and attention went strictly to his family, but after three years had gone by the itch returned with a vengeance so he put the word out that he was looking for an Impala and within a week he acquired one that had been located on a farm. The price was right and Willie grabbed the new 1963 Chevy Impala SS to start all over.
The condition wasn’t that bad to begin with but stock didn’t fit into Willie’s plans. He drove the Chevy up until winter and while most tuck their cars away, Willie did the opposite and began reconstructing his ride. The first step was a color change. Along with his friend, they doused the car with a special gray that he had seen on a Corvette while attending a car show. Once the body and paint was completed, Willie did something he had never done before—he fit the car with an air-ride system.
The original owner had the motor rebuilt but since it was sitting for years, Bobby from MBS Automotive of Racine, Wisconsin, handled the dress-up and dialed it all in to make sure it would handle the streets properly and with power. The interior was brought back to life by Roy Escamilla using a Ciadella’s kit and restored to new with new panels for the air tanks in the trunk.
The completion of Willie’s Chevy couldn’t have come at a better time. It was right in time for the summer show season. He wishes to thank everyone who helped him throughout the build process—most importantly to his loving wife, Melinda, and their two children, Hailey and Damian. After leaving the scene for three years, he just couldn’t find the feeling to get back in the lowrider game and in doing so he came back with a 1963 that has stepped of the shadows and into the spotlight.
1963 Chevrolet Impala SS
In the Shadows
Chevy 350 with TH350 transmission, Edelbrock Endurashine intake and carburetor, Billet Specialties valve covers and air cleaner done by MBS Automotive
PPG Cyber Gray Metallic paint, original trim polished and chromed done by Jeremy Kilmowicz
CCE air-ride kit, Slam Specialties airbags, two ViAir 480 air compressors, two 5-gallon tanks, 1/2-inch air valves, and lines done by Damage Hydraulics in Chicago
Ciadella’s Original Black Interior kit done by Roy Escamilla, Dakota Digital gauges, trunk interior panels covered in vinyl and carpet done by Victor Arellano
Custom Autosound radio, JL Audio front speakers in custom fiberglass kick panels, JL Audio 6x9s in rear deck
13×7 72-spoke Superior Wire Wheels, Premium Sportway 5.20s